Scholars Guide

Covenant Guide for Scholars

Welcome, Scholars!

Meet the Carolina Covenant Team

Financial Aid Quick Guide

Priorities for the Covenant

The Carolina Covenant is more than an exceptional financial aid package. As a Carolina Covenant Scholar, you are wrapped within a campus-wide commitment to your success. A committed network of mentors and liaisons ensure that you have every opportunity to successfully complete your undergraduate education. Further, our University is dedicated to setting you up for post-undergraduate success in graduate school or the career field of your choice.

From wellbeing support, individualized mentoring, graduate school pathway discussions, career preparation, training, and job placement opportunities to community events like trivia nights and socials, the Carolina Covenant Program offers an array of opportunities to help you thrive at Carolina. Read your eblast (our community email update) each week to learn more about the workshops, meetings, events, and resources we coordinate for you. You can also make an appointment with us or drop by. We’d love to connect with you!

Covenant Career Readiness and Opportunity

Watch video testimony from Covenant Scholars about supports & opportunities!

Financial Aid Career Readiness and Job Placement

 

Networking and Community Support Your Participation and Engagement
  • Request a Carolina Covenant Faculty or Staff Mentor.
    • We are updating our roster for 2023-2024, stay tuned!
  • Identify Carolina Covenant Liaisons in areas of interest, email them to introduce yourself and learn more about their field.
  • Connect with the Carolina Covenant’s Student Advisory Council (SAC)– a team of undergraduate interns who serve as liaisons between Covenant Scholars and our professional team. The SAC also leads several community events and service projects throughout the academic year.
  • Join the Carolina Covenant GroupMe to connect with other Scholars and stay in the know about emergent opportunities
  • Follow the Covenant on Instagram to engage with and celebrate our Covenant community.
  • Read the eblast each week to stay on top of resources, events, and opportunities just for you!
  • Make connecting with the Carolina Covenant team – the professional staff, the mentors, and the liaisons – a priority each year.
  • Attend Covenant sponsored workshops, discussions, social events and more to build a network of support and increase knowledge, preparedness, and capacity for success.

Networking & Career Preparation

The Carolina Covenant’s support for you includes a rich network of University partnerships that will benefit you in college and far beyond. Covenant Scholars who take full advantage of these opportunities are in the best position to make the most of their Carolina education.

Connect with a Carolina Covenant Mentor. Our Mentors are Carolina faculty, professional staff and administration, graduate students, and peers at the University who can provide direct support for your individual interests and goals. The Covenant’s professional mentors represent a wide range of academic departments, professional schools, and administration, and have supported thousands of Covenant Scholars along their path to success at the University and beyond. Covenant Scholars may request a faculty or staff mentor at any stage of their academic journey.

See our list of outstanding faculty and staff mentors.

To connect with a faculty or staff mentor, please complete the Mentor Request Form.

Connect with a Carolina Covenant High-Impact Liaison. Liaisons will actively seek connection with Covenant Scholars throughout the year to invite interested students to engage more with the professional school or academic and career-focused program they represent. There is a liaison for each of Carolina’s professional schools each serving as a connector, point of contact, and support for students seeking admission or deeper experience with their program or school.

Connect with our liaisons by emailing them directly to share your interest and ask specific questions about their department, program, or school. They look forward to hearing from you!

The Connecting Carolina’s Covenant Scholars (CCCS) initiative coordinates targeted career preparation experiences at the University, a curated network of professional advisors, our High Impact Liaisons, successful alumni and friends, local corporate and industry partners, as well as financial and human resources to help you successfully pursue and secure competitive career opportunities. Opportunities for engagement include 1:1 career coaching appointments, participating in the Career Accelerator Program, applying for a professional development grant, attending specially designed programs with employer partners, and more.

The Covenant Career Accelerator Program (CAP) is specifically designed to propel Covenant Scholars toward career readiness by increasing their confidence and experience in all eight competencies most valued by employers. Bolstered by a network of collaboration and support, participants are better situated to successfully identify, apply for, and secure post-graduate opportunities in a competitive market. Learn more about the Career Accelerator Program.

For personalized career support, Scholars are encouraged to make a career coaching appointment with Jessie Durham-Nash, our Assistant Director for Career Development & Outcomes. Reasons to meet with Jessie include general career exploration and professional development, document review (resume, cover letter, personal statement, writing sample, etc.), mock interviews and interview prep, salary expectations and negotiations, talking about careers with family, and more!

  • Connect with us to learn more about the opportunities and supports outlined in this guide, and when issues arise that may impact your success at Carolina. We are here for you, email us!
  • Read the weekly eblast from the Carolina Covenant Program in your UNC student email inbox every week for information about connecting, engaging, and applying for resources and career development opportunities.
  • Join the Carolina Covenant Scholar GroupMe – hosted by the Carolina Covenant Student Advisory Council, and follow us on Instagram to stay in the know on relevant stories related to our program, to connect with and learn from other Scholars, and learn more about last minute opportunities!
  • Browse the work-study jobs early and apply for positions. Most (though not all) Carolina Covenant Scholars benefit from Federal Work-Study as part of their financial aid package. These positions can help you gain professional experience, enhance career readiness competencies, and grow – even those not directly in the same area of your immediate career interests. So go on, apply! Questions? Email our work-study team.
  • If you are comfortable, disclose your Carolina Covenant scholar status in your email signature. Your email signature can alert potential supporters of your Scholar status and eligibility for targeted supports and opportunities. Something like this:

Rameses Tar Heel Jr.
Carolina Covenant Scholar, Class of 2026

  • Connect with a Covenant Mentor and our network of high-impact liaisons early in your academic career. Invest in those relationships. These individuals are dedicated to helping you grow and identify transformational opportunities that suit your interests and needs. Mentors and liaisons can be strong advocates for you when it comes time for letters of recommendation and knowledge of research and job opportunities.
  • Study Abroad. All Covenant Scholars are encouraged to gain a global experience during their undergraduate career! Carolina Covenant financial aid packages can be put towards study abroad opportunities that occur during the academic year (Spring and Fall semesters) and can sometimes even cover the entire semester if the cost of the program costs the same or less than that of a semester at UNC. For more information, you can connect with UNC Study Abroad’s financial aid department by emailing at fa_studyabroad@unc.edu.
  • Get Involved! You can work with our Student Advisory Council (SAC) on our annual service project, well-being initiatives, and more. Follow us on Instagram @carolina_covenant for more information and updates.

Carolina Covenant Scholars have a robust network of well-being resources at their disposal! Scholars can take advantage of the following:

  • Emergency Needs
    • CAPS
      • UNC’s Counseling and Psychological Services is strongly committed to addressing the mental health needs of a diverse student body through timely access to consultation and connection to clinically appropriate services. Learn more about their providers and services.
    • If you are experiencing a medical emergency or there is immediate danger of harm, call 911 or visit a hospital emergency department and explain that you need support for a mental health crisis.
    • If you or someone you know needs to talk to someone right now:
    • Heels Care Network
    • LSN
      • LSNers are student volunteers who care deeply about the well-being of the Carolina community. They are available to listen to your concerns and help you identify helpful campus resources. Learn more about LSN and LSNers.
    • Dr. Jayne Davis, Carolina Covenant Director for Scholar Well-being

Your Financial Aid: A Quick Guide

The Carolina Covenant is an incredible financial aid package that may include a combination of various scholarships, work-study, and grants – no loans – covering financial need (Cost of Attendance minus Estimated Family Contribution) for individual students who qualify. The Covenant is also a system of supports and resources to help Covenant scholars thrive at Carolina and beyond.

With these significant financial, academic, and social supports, Carolina Covenant Scholars have the opportunity to graduate from UNC Chapel Hill debt-free and ready for the world.

The Carolina Covenant financial aid package meets the true need eligibility for every individual Covenant Scholar through a combination of grants, scholarships, and Federal Work-Study. Each Covenant Scholar’s need eligibility is different, so your financial aid package will look different from your peers. Comparing your package to another Scholar’s package is unlikely to help, but we hope that the following topics in this quick guide section will. We are also here to help you understand the billing process and how your financial aid is applied to your student account.

When you are approved to underload, we have to adjust your budget based on the change in enrollment. We will adjust for the lower cost of tuition at less than full-time hours, as well as a lower book allowance. We use this new budget to determine your financial need and adjust accordingly. The budget for housing and meals will not be reduced.

To remain eligible for federal funds, you must maintain half-time enrollment (six credit hours). You can request this adjustment by submitting an Undergraduate Underload Adjustment Form. Students who wish to maintain their Student Blue Health Insurance must remain in a minimum of 6 hours.

 

In some cases, your grants and scholarships may be taxable. It is best to seek the advice of a tax expert to look at your individual case. You will take the Award Notification of the tax calendar year (spring of the prior year and fall of the current academic year) to your tax preparer. In addition to private tax preparer services, the IRS has a free online tax service as well local agencies such as The United Way. Also, some credit unions offer free tax services.

You will need to take the 1098T form to your tax preparer to see if you are eligible for a tax tuition credit. Note that only students who paid money towards their tuition generally qualify. Our Cashiers Office issues 1098T forms based on financial aid disbursed to your student account during the calendar year’s tax period. Visit the University Cashier’s website to learn more.

  • Work-Study programs offer the chance to earn college funds by working a part-time job on campus or at community service agencies. You can apply for work-study jobs that match your interests, skills and career plans. While work-study is not required for Covenant Scholars, it is highly encouraged as a way to make money, explore a field of interest, gain professional development, and more! Learn more about work-study.
  • Why didn’t my funds disburse?
    • You must be enrolled full-time (12 hours) for your funds to disburse to the Cashiers Office. If you are on a waitlist for courses, your financial aid will disburse as soon as you reach full-time status. If you plan to stay below 12 hours through an approved underload (with academic advising) – you must complete the underload form. A counselor will review the financial aid at the reduced number of hours before disbursing your aid.
  • My refund doesn’t seem as big as in the past. What happened?
  • What happens to my Carolina Covenant financial aid package if I drop a course?
    • The academic and financial implications of course drops are individual and based on drop dates (see the Registrar’s calendar for dates). First, connect with an academic advisor with the Academic Advising Program to understand any academic implications of the drop. Then contact us to understand any financial implications.
  • How will it impact my financial aid if I drop classes after the census date?
    • Connect with an academic advisor to understand any academic implications based on the date you drop. Dropping after census date will not result in revisions to your financial aid (you will not owe anything back).
  • What happens to my Carolina Covenant award if I withdraw from the University?
    • Our office will be notified of the “effective date” of withdrawal. We will then be able to determine the amount that you will owe back to the University under the Return to Title IV federal guidelines. If you withdraw after being enrolled for over 60 percent of the semester, there will be no repayment. Please note that you will retain your Carolina Covenant Status if you return to the University by the date we specify.
  • I received an outside scholarship and did not receive all of my financial aid. What should I do?
    • Contact the outside scholarships team to check on the status. If for any reason it is late, then you may apply for an emergency loan on our website and use the scholarship funds to repay the loan once the scholarship funds disburse. Please note that outside scholarships will replace financial aid dollar-for-dollar, starting with loans and work-study. In other words, receiving an outside scholarship may not directly increase the amount of money you receive.
  • The Carolina Covenant didn’t appear in my financial aid award letter. Am I still a Covenant Scholar?
    • The Carolina Covenant financial aid package is comprised of many different sources of funding, including a combination of various grants, scholarships, and (for those who qualify) work-study. The Carolina Covenant Scholarship is one of many funding sources that may be used to complete your package. If you have completed your FAFSA and other financial aid-to-do items on time, and if your aid matches your demonstrated need for the cost of attendance, you are still a Carolina Covenant Scholar.
  • I have loans in my package. What happened?
    • In these cases, your estimated family contribution (EFC) may have increased or we may not have received your financial aid documents by the posted deadlines. To investigate further, you can email our counseling team for assistance.

You can use our budgeting calculator to apply your per semester aid against your university billed costs. This estimation will help you determine if your housing or meal plan choices will result in a refund or a balance on your account.

  • Does the Carolina Covenant pay for classes during the summer?
    • The Carolina Covenant only meets 100 percent of a scholar’s need during the fall and spring semesters,  not summer. During the summer, you may be considered for prorated Pell Grants and loans. You may be considered for Work-Study if it is available. Check out our summer aid page to learn more.

The Carolina Covenant financial aid package budgets for the standard double occupancy rate, an unlimited meal plan, and the estimated cost of textbooks. While your cost of attendance budget includes a book allowance (about $645 a semester), your books are not automatically paid for with your financial aid. We do not recommend charging books at Student Stores to your account before your aid disburses. If possible, we recommend waiting for your aid to disburse (should be by the first week of classes) and your refund to hit your account and then use these funds to pay for your books. You will need to pay out of pocket for any difference. Consider renting or buying used books to offset costs. Learn more about additional resource on finding course materials.

You will be packaged at the highest meal plan rate (about $2,627 a semester). We recommend that students living on campus choose a meal plan before the start of school to ensure a smoother process for financial aid disbursement. Many Scholars find that they do not require the highest meal plan. The lower the meal plan, the more of your meal budget shows up as part of your refund. If you are living off campus and choose not to have a meal plan, you can use this budget toward your meals anywhere. Find more information on meal plans. Please note that these figures come from UNC’s cost of attendance calculator and are used as a budget example – these items are not necessarily protected from charge debts with your university bill.

  • If I am living in Ram Village, or off-campus, and my living costs exceed the on campus standard double occupancy rate for housing, may I request a housing allowance add-on?
    • We encourage you to make housing choices within your financial aid budget (the standard double occupancy rate) to make the most of your aid and to avoid needing loans. If you would like more funds to cover your choice of more expensive housing, you may apply for a loan. Extenuating circumstances may be addressed to our team, so feel free to reach outPlease note that UNC adjusts the cost of attendance to reflect the cost of living, accordingly.
  • What happens to my financial aid if I move off-campus?
    • Your financial aid will be exactly the same if you live on or off-campus. The difference is that you will receive a refund that you will have to budget carefully for off-campus housing/meals/transportation.
  • If I make a change from living with parents to moving back on campus – or moving to an off-campus apartment living independently, will my budget be updated?
    • Contact the Office of Scholarships and Student aid if you change your living arrangement from living with parents to living on or off campus so that we may update your budget and financial aid award. However, if you change from living on campus to moving off-campus – we use the same budget. There would be no change to the financial aid.

If you would like to request housing accommodations, you can reach out to Accessibility Resources and Service at ars@unc.edu.

  • Is there financial aid for Study Abroad for Carolina Covenant Scholars for fall, spring, and summer?
    • Yes, you may use your financial aid to apply towards your study abroad program during the fall or spring semesters. Unfortunately, we do not have remaining grant aid to award for summer sessions. We encourage you to study abroad during the academic year through programs at the exchange rate (in other words, programs that cost the same or less than the cost of attendance at UNC for one semester). If you choose to study abroad during the summer, you will likely need a loan to cover the expenses. Contact our study abroad team with questions.

All students are required to have health insurance. If you are not covered under your parent’s health insurance, enroll in Student Blue student health insurance plan and complete the insurance budget adjustment request form to have funds applied to your account to cover the health insurance charge. Scholars MUST either ENROLL in Student Blue (and complete a budget adjustment request) or WAIVE Student Blue to avoid a charge to the student’s account.

The Carolina Covenant financial aid package provides the opportunity for Carolina Covenant Scholars to graduate debt-free. To increase the likelihood that you will graduate without debt, we encourage you to make financial decisions that keep your expenses within the scope of the financial aid package and avoid loans unless you absolutely need it. For example, staying within the standard double occupancy rate for housing expenses on or off campus, maximizing work-study and employment opportunities, planning to maximize fall and spring course enrollment at 12-15 hours each, and considering study abroad experiences that are at the exchange rate can help you stay within the scope of your financial aid.

Contact the Covenant office with financial concerns so that we can support your consideration of all options for emergencies or academic opportunities before loans.

  • Does the Covenant cover the cost of outside counseling or therapy?
    • We understand that many students struggle with the cost of mental health resources. We recommend connecting early with Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) to understand your options. If you require support outside of CAPS, their staff can advise about additional grant funding for counseling and the portion that may be covered.
  • What else is good to know?
  • Do Carolina Covenant Scholars receive support for a laptop computer?
      • Yes, you will be automatically eligible for a CCI laptop grant in your entering semester only. This covers the basic Lenovo laptop computer. If you want a more expensive version, you will have to cover the difference out of pocket. If you wish to order printers/copiers, you will also be responsible for paying for those out of pocket. Learn more about the CCI laptop grant.

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Stay in the know of Covenant events and happenings!

Join Covenant GroupMe

Hosted by the Covenant Student Advisory Council!

Contact our team

We are here to help, so feel free to reach out!